Special Session Bills Signed into Law (HB 66 and HB 46)
The work done by the Missouri General Assembly during the recent special session on violent crime has now been completed. Governor Mike Parson recently signed the two bills passed by the House and Senate into law.
The bills were meant to address the rapid increases in violent crime rates in 2020. The increases have primarily been seen in the state's urban areas. In St. Louis, there have been more homicides in 2020 than all of 2019, putting the state on track to have its deadliest year on record. As of September 18, there have been 195 murders in St. Louis. In all of 2019, St. Louis had 194 homicides.
In signing the special session bills, Parson said, “We have a serious problem with violent crime here in Missouri, and we have seen it escalate even more in recent months. HB 66 and HB 46 are valuable tools that will build on our efforts to combat violent crime, support law enforcement officers, and make our communities safer.”
Parson added that HB 66 and HB 46 will assist Missouri’s efforts to fight violent crime by supporting law enforcement officers across the state.
HB 66 creates the Pretrial Witness Protection Services Fund, which will allow the Department of Public Safety to disburse money to law enforcement agencies for the purposes of providing for the security of witnesses, potential witnesses, and their immediate families in criminal proceedings or investigations. The funds are subject to appropriations from the General Assembly.
HB 46 is designed to help the City of St. Louis to fill the more than 140 open positions it currently has on its police force. The bill eliminates the residency requirement for St. Louis law enforcement so long as the officer lives within an hour of the city. This proposal would also prohibit requiring any public safety employee for the City of St. Louis to be a resident of the city. The elimination of the existing residency requirement will last until September 1, 2023.
Governor Parson said, “If we are to change violent criminal acts across our state, we must work together. We must support our law enforcement officers, and we must start prioritizing the prevention of violent crime. These two pieces of legislation are a great step in the right direction.”
Both bills contained emergency clauses that put them into effect as law immediately after receiving the governor’s signature
Reminding Missourians to Register to Vote
National Voter Registration Day took place on September 22. Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is traveling around the state to urge Missourians to register to vote or verify their registration. The deadline to register for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 7.
Ashcroft said, “With the November 3 general election approaching, we are urging all eligible Missourians to register to vote. If you’re already registered, make sure to verify your voting information. It’s essential that every Missourian has the opportunity to make their voice heard on Election Day.”
Missourians can register to vote, check their registration, or get more information about registering by visiting www.GoVoteMissouri.com. In order to be eligible, a potential voter must be a U.S. citizen, a Missouri resident, and 18 years old by the day of the election. In addition to urging Missourians to register to vote, Ashcroft is also traveling the state to promote the safety of in-person voting and the 2020 absentee and mail-in voting options. September 22 marked the beginning of the absentee voting period. Eligible Missourians can vote absentee in person at their local election authority through Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. Absentee and mail-in ballot requests must be received by local election authorities no later than Oct. 21. For an overview of voting options, Missourians can visit the following link: https://www.sos.mo.gov/CMSImages/ElectionGoVoteMissouri/VotingOptionsChart.pdfVoters can find their local election authority’s contact information by visiting https://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/localelectionauthority.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.